Donald Trump was the clear winner of the fifth Republican presidential candidate debate, hosted by CNN on Dec. 15, according to a poll conducted by Gravis Marketing, a nonpartisan research firm.
The poll, completed for One America News Network and conducted after the debate aired, found 35 percent of respondents thought Trump won the debate. Coming in second was Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas at 25 percent, with Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida in third at 14 percent.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie took the fourth place with 9 percent, while Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky all received 5 percent or less of respondents votes.
Of respondents, 26 percent found Bush to be the loser of the debate.
The people’s choice of Bush as the biggest loser is in stark contrast with CNN political commentator Michael Smerconish’s reaction to his performance.
“[Bush] turned in a strong performance” with his ability to taunt Trump, Smerconish told CNN.
“Jeb had a good night,” he said.
CNN named Bush as one of the winners of the debate because of the confidence he displayed and his ability to stand up to Trump.
"If you think this is tough and you're not being treated fairly, imagine what it's going to be like dealing with [Russian President Vladimir] Putin or dealing with [Chinese] President Xi [Jinping] or dealing with the Islamic terrorism that exists," Bush said during the debate over Trump’s tireless interruptions.
Regardless of how CNN weighs Bush’s performance, those polled found that after the debate they now have a 56 percent less favorable view of the candidate. Twenty-two percent now view him more favorably, with 22 percent's opinions unchanged.
Of those polled, 31 percent said they view Trump less favorably following the debate, while 50 percent now see him in a more positive light.
When asked which candidate respondents would vote for today, Trump came out on top with 34 percent of the votes. Cruz, whose favorably rose 58 percent among respondents following the debate, took second place with 23 percent.